Saturday, November 5, 2011

Anyone know anything about wounds?

Apologies, this is a slightly unpleasant post about a wound I received while unwisely trekking across the Malaysian island of Pulau Tioman in sandals, back in May. That was six months ago now, which is why I'm starting to get a bit concerned that the thing hasn't decided to go away yet.

I'm not a hypochondriac by nature - I don't have any kind of health insurance, never really get sick, never normally see doctors or dentists and only go to Specsavers when my prescription changes sufficiently that it starts to impact on my ability to work (it's slowly on the wane already). I think the only time I've seen a doctor since childhood was during my first term at University when I got mumps, though all he did was stick something in my ear and tell me to rest until my cheeks returned to a less hilarious size. I wish I'd taken photos to show you.

I do have photos of this wound for you to inspect, if you feel you're medically qualified to offer more than just chastisement. It's on the inside of my right ankle, right under the bone, and I've included as much foot as I felt was necessary for orientation/proportion purposes. I know feet aren't very nice to look at (unless you like that sort of thing).

Click here to see what it looks like today (November 2011), and from a slightly different angle, and in close-up. Please don't click there if you don't want to, though. And yes, I know my ankle tan is amusing too - my sandal-shaded feet look like giraffe fur.

Unreliable self-diagnosis follows.

X-Men Origins: Wound

The wound was presumably caused by a tree branch or other jagged bit of nature, as I was climbing through this for about 90 minutes:

It was definitely infected - over the course of several days it ballooned from thin red scratch line to painful red splotch that frequently oozed something or other. It took a long, long time to heal, which might have been partly due to the tropical humidity (I'm really guessing now), but can't have been helped by me experimenting with plasters several times more than necessary before realising they really weren't useful.

I just discovered this photo from May 2010, taken very shortly after getting the wound - it's still in its original bloody scratch form, with the black infected bit poking out like that unpleasant mole on the back of my neck with the hair growing out of it (one problem at a time).

I took this photo in early June, three to four weeks after receiving the wound, when it was still leaking daily. I'll be honest, I only took the photo because I was amused by the Sesame Street style phonetics of it forming a 'W' in blood - W for 'wound' (though it could equally have been for 'Warburton,' if the bacteria were trying to communicate with me somehow. Needless to say, they didn't offer any useful medical advice).

This photo was taken in mid-July, a month later (over two months since the wounding), when there was no more oozing, and it's appeared the same since. There's a raised, squashy, pinkish bump in the centre (about one centimetre diameter) surrounded by an uneven patch of dark skin that might be necrosis, if we're getting into hypochondriac territory. This is what I'm most worried about, to be honest, and the reason I wrote this.

It's not causing me any pain or discomfort, and hasn't been since I stopped using plasters in June and allowed it to heal over. It doesn't like it's healed under too much, but at least it hasn't re-opened at any point, and the dark skin hasn't spread or darkened. It doesn't hurt if I squidge it or areas surrounding it, or when I do anything with my feet. You'll be relieved to hear that my ballroom dancing career hasn't suffered.

Do I need to see a doctor? Do you think they'll take a look at it for free? Or am I being a paranoid nincompoop?


  1. Okay, there is DEFINITELY a nest of spider's eggs under there about to burst out from under your skin.

    Either that or it's healed perfectly, the skin just looks funky cos it's scar tissue.

    Source: my feet are always getting torn open because I'm a girl and for some reason nobody makes sensible shoes for my people.

    Also I'm very fucking clumsy and it's not unusual for blood to start pouring out of some random body part that I've accidentally taken a chunk out of by walking at 20mph into a table.

    Basically I think you'll be fine. If it doesn't hurt then aye, it's scar tissue.

    You could see a doctor if you're really worried. OR if you're like me you'll re-open the wound and see if it heals any differently next time round.

  2. Thanks for the helpful realism. This is in direct contrast to the over-protective advice someone gave me yesterday - though she also stated that it had grown in the last two months, despite my photo evidence to the contrary. Ignoring is definitely more my style - I haven't died... yet. (Oh come on, something kill me already so these comments can seem foreboding).

  3. Okay, someone I met in my hostel is a nurse and I just thought of asking her to look at it. She said it's fine, and just scarring - no necrosis.

    There's a lesson here: don't spend money getting your slightly worrying wound looked at, because nine months later someone will do it for free.

    Note: please never take my advice.

  4. almost certainly a spider bite....they take forever to heal and look just like's scar my case the tissue eventually fell away and left a little empty pit in my skin.